Word of the Day

Sunday, August 25, 2013


\DAW-ger-uhl, DOG-er-\ , adjective;
(of verse) a. comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure. b. rude; crude; poor.
doggerel verse.
Whoever wrote that doggerel had picked up the Virginia gossip about Jefferson having a black "wife," but Callender assumed the dialect poet had only a suspicion.
-- William Safire, Scandalmonger, 2000
I found myself in a house of kindly people, who had found me on the third day wandering, weeping, and raving through the streets of St. John's Wood. They have told me since that I was singing some insane doggerel about “The Last Man Left Alive! Hurrah! The Last Man Left Alive!"
-- H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds, 1898
Doggerel is likely a blend of dog and the pejorative suffix -rel. It came to English in the 1400s as a way to insult bad poetry by implying that it could have been created by dogs, or could have only been enjoyed by dogs.
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